Fraud 101: How to steer clear of the cyber sharks
The Internet. An infinite place, comparable to the ocean – filled with possibilities and inspiration. But there’s a dark side, too (Jaws soundtrack fading in in the background). In some places, money-hungry sharks are lying in wait to ambush and attack surfers like you with their nasty scams. No need to break a sweat – with the right knowledge and preparation, they won’t harm you or your Yuh account.
Just prepare for the trap
Awareness is the key. Humans of 2023 use their smartphone a bit like an arm and brain extension. Mobile devices have become wallets and agendas, so basically any personal or financial information can be found in there. If you use your smartphone on a daily basis (who doesn’t, right?), you are a potential victim of cybercriminals. It’s important to stay alert, be able to read the signs of fraud and act accordingly at all times.
Throughout the years, internet crime has become more sophisticated. Criminal techniques are constantly evolving with great creativity and focus on mobile users, even though you can still find the occasional scam email too. After all, a scammer’s return on investment is much higher if they target their victims via SMS, WhatsApp, social media or fraudulent mobile apps. What motivates their criminal genius is first and foremost money driven, including identity theft through harvesting login credentials.
Our A-list of mobile scams
Mobile scams are real, even if it might not have happened to you yet: If a fraudster throws us some delicious-looking bait in a weak moment, we all can be lured into the trap. Internet or mobile fraud has so many different faces and layers that it can be hard to follow up. Phishing, for example, has shifted from email to messaging and social media platforms, and the attacks often exploit the functioning of the human psyche with all its emotions and desires. Fraudsters are skilled and know how to push the right button to hook you in. We have listed some of the most popular financial scams that we have encountered at Yuh and that you should also keep an eye out for.
1. Money mules
A money mule is basically someone who allows their personal information to be used by a fraudster in return for payment. Criminals use mules as go-betweens to launder their illegally obtained funds (cybercrime, drugs or human trafficking) through various methods. Money mules can be recruited wittingly or unwittingly through reliable-looking job advertisements such as “financial agents” or “money transfer agents”. Often, these job offers are work-from-home setups promising high commissions without the need for specialised education. The websites of the alleged companies look very credible and serious. Once recruited, the mules receive and withdraw funds via their own bank accounts and forward them to other mules. Mostly this happens via bank transfers, but it can also happen physically through letters, parcels or other services. In some cases, the mules will just be asked to open a bank account in their names and share their details with the fraudsters. Some mules don’t realise that their account is a mule account: Maybe they are just “guilty” of having shared their credentials with a third party, who then will change the account info and login in order to be able to control the account and use it for money transfers.
Trust us, we know that humans can be weak. Maybe you are going through a rough patch in your life or you are in urgent need of money, and before you even know it, you become part of a whole criminal system. Always take one step back, breathe and ask yourself if the offer sounds like a dream. If the answer is yes, hands off!
Yuh pro tip: Never share your credentials with anyone; you might never be able to retrieve them. Also NEVER SHARE a verification SMS. This is a piece of security that is sent to you precisely to make sure you really are who you claim to be. If you share it with third parties, they can pretend to be you.
2. Online marketplace scams
Here is the classic scenario for this kind of scam: Imagine you finally find that iconic vintage sweater you have always been looking for on Facebook Marketplace and you contact the seller right away. Of course, the item is still available and the seller asks you to pay upfront. However, once you do the money transfer, the item you paid for will never reach your mailbox. It also works the other way round: You list an item on Facebook Marketplace, Ricardo, Tutti or Anibis and someone is interested in buying it. Since you want to get rid of your item, of course you are up for the deal. They claim they will send the cash via DHL, Fedex or a similar service and a courier to collect it. To receive your payment, they ask you to fill in a quite legitimate-looking form of the courier service by clicking on a fraudulent link. And bam, scammers got what they wanted: your identity and/or maybe your bank details. Another kind of marketplace scam can be counterfeit items. It’s weird if the designer bag costs you only 50 CHF. In this case you just need to put aside your FOMO.
Yuh pro tip: Be extremely careful with items that seem to be a bargain. Also, if you expect to be paid, always go through the official channels. If you are asked to enter your card number for an item you want to sell, it’s already a massive warning sign. Think about it: You usually enter your card number to pay someone, not to receive money, right?
3. Impersonation scams
What you are dealing with here is a person who pretends to be a company or a bank. They usually pretend to be able to give you instant credit at highly favourable rates. Credit at highly favourable rates? Right away you should be sceptical. However, they might ask you to open an account at, let’s say, Yuh and share the login information in order to transfer you the money (which obviously will never happen). Another scenario could be that the scammers promise you a guaranteed and unusually high return on the money you send them. In this case they would ask you to send money to an external account (mostly abroad). Sounds amazing? What will happen the moment you hit that “Transfer money” button in your banking app is that you will never see your money again and that the so-called banker will disappear into a black hole. But there’s also a more cunning version of this trap: To gain your trust, the fraudster might send you back the original sum plus the promised return. As soon as you send a larger sum, you will never again see any money back.Keep in mind one general rule to avoid a mental breakdown: In economics, it is impossible to systematically guarantee a high return. Anyone trying to convince you of the contrary is simply lying.
Yuh pro tip: If you find a financial deal, talk about it around you and ask for a second opinion. Whenever in doubt, you can call your financial provider’s customer care.
Red flags you should never ignore
You know how in some action movies, when the enemy enters a forbidden territory, somewhere there’s always a flashing red alert button saying DANGER combined with an ear-piercing alarm? Sometimes people can get so distracted that they miss the forest for the trees and need to be woken up by exactly such an alarm. Here you go with some scam warnings that you should always keep in mind. Read them, internalise them and never fall prey to a (financial) scammer:
Our list of mobile scams is far from exhaustive – there are plenty more “fish” in the sea. If you have any doubts or if you think you are the victim of fraudulent activity, please call your bank immediately and ask them to freeze your cards. If it’s already too late, don’t be ashamed to file a complaint at your local police station to help fight the bad guys out there. Last but not least: If anything sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is! Repeat after us: Rely on your gut feeling, think twice and don’t rush
- Never communicate your login and password (including your Yuh Key, phone number and any verification codes) for your Yuh account to anyone, not even your cat. Yuh will never ask you to reveal personal data about yourself, such as login information or passwords.
- Never grant anybody else access to your application or your account. You are responsible for any activity that takes place on your account.
- Never open a Yuh account on a credit company’s request, in order to get a quick loan. Yuh does not collaborate with this kind of company.
- Beware of unsolicited requests by Internet, email, SMS or phone, in particular if personal data is required, and this, even if it is allegedly about Yuh or a Yuh partner. Yuh will never call you to open an account.
- Never open a Yuh account to help another person.
- If it looks weird it probably is weird: Never click on suspicious links and delete suspicious messages.
- Never share your Yuh account with a third party. The account belongs to you only.
- Our customer care number is based in Switzerland and is +41 44 825 87 89. Yuh will never ask you to call any other number. Be especially wary of phone numbers coming from outside of Switzerland.
- Yuh will never ask you to make a cash transfer to another account (payment instructions can be verified on your online account at any time), nor hand over cash or make a test transaction online.
- Yuh will never ask you to make quick decisions or respond under pressure, especially through unsolicited messages.
- Yuh will never ask you to download an attachment, to install software or to let anyone remotely log on to your computer or other devices either during or after a call.
- Yuh will never send anyone to your home to collect cash, bank cards or in the purpose of any other financial interactions.
- Yuh will never provide banking services through any desktop or mobile apps other than the official Yuh app.
Our list of mobile scams is far from exhaustive – there are plenty more “fish” in the sea. If you have any doubts or if you think you are the victim of fraudulent activity, please call your bank immediately and ask them to freeze your cards. If it’s already too late, don’t be ashamed to file a complaint at your local police station to help fight the bad guys out there.
Last but not least: If anything sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is! Repeat after us: Rely on your gut feeling, think twice and don’t rush.